Georgetown, Guyana – (April 11, 2020) As the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) continues to work to bring relief to citizens during this month-long emergency curfew instituted by the Ministry of Public Health in response to the COVID – 19 pandemic , 1759 households in 25 communities from across five regions have already benefited.

Since the distribution commenced on April 5, 2020, residents in communities located in Regions 3, 4, 5, 6 and 10 have received hampers containing a month’s supply of food items.

Senior Response Officer of the CDC, Captain Salim October said the success of this exercise so far has been achieved through careful coordination between CDC’s National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) and local Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), Governmental Agencies, Regional Democratic Councils (RDCs), Community Liaisons and some members of the Private Sector.

He noted that members of the Private Sector have been supportive towards the CDC’s efforts and must be applauded. He noted too that several NGOs have provided volunteers to help with the door-to-door delivery of the hampers.

“The CDC recognises that for the entire nation to benefit and for efforts to be maximized, it requires broad based interventions by as many organisations and entities as possible. At this juncture, the CDC recognises that similar initiatives to provide relief to citizens are being implemented by various organisations including NGOs, international and local agencies and individuals. As the national authority for Disaster Risk Management, we are heartened by these wide-ranging, noble and humanitarian driven acts that no doubt will rebound to increase food security for many. The CDC, publicly acknowledges the supportive agencies and organisations, and applauds their efforts in mobilising support and conducting community outreaches. These efforts demonstrate our resilience as a people,” he said.

Director General of the CDC, Lieutenant Colonel Kester Craig said while some citizens might believe that the Commission is moving too slow in its distribution efforts, they must be cognizant of the fact that while it had the foresight to procure supplies beforehand, the situation has drastically changed from then to now. He noted that the entire world is grappling with the pandemic and therefore, it is a challenge to mobilise resources, for which the entire world is competing.

In light of the challenges, the Director General therefore noted that the CDC in collaboration with key stakeholders conducted reconnaissance, assessments and analysis and the neediest and most vulnerable communities were the recipients of the first batch of supplies. Further, distribution and procurement plans have already been developed to direct the process based on the availability of the required resources.

“This is not to say that we are not trying our best. We have challenges and despite those challenges, we are still working to ensure that the citizens are taken care of during this time. We have tried, as far as practicable, to touch those communities which are most vulnerable and who would be most impacted during these measures. However, our intention has always been to ensure that every vulnerable citizen benefit, so we are trying to work out those challenges,” he said.

Lieutenant Colonel Craig added that the CDC has noted that several public and private entities and individuals are coordinating similar distribution interventions across the country. It is recommended that all distributions be coordinated through one system to avoid duplication of efforts and to maximise resources.

“The CDC stands ready to work with Government, Non-Governmental, Private Sector and other agencies to coordinate a comprehensive distribution effort which reaches the entire vulnerable population,” the Director General noted.

He said this partnership could be activated by donating supplies directly to the CDC, through joint distributions in the communities or the sharing of logistics and distribution information.

“At minimum, the CDC would be appreciative if organisations which are engaged in their own distribution activities can inform us ahead of time so that such efforts can be factored into our national distribution planning. We are confident that your assistance in this regard would help to mitigate the duplication of relief efforts as we respond to the challenges and impacts of COVID-19. Kindly contact the National Emergency Management System (NEMS) at 600-7500 or 623 – 1700 to update us on any relevant information. We welcome your continued partnership and support,” he noted.

Meanwhile, the CDC has donated a supply of masks to frontline agencies such as the Diamond Diagnostic Centre, Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation, Immigration Department and the Guyana Revenue Authority to ensure that adequate resources are available for the protection of workers.

Companies or persons who wish to donate are reminded that they can do so at the CDC’s headquarters, Thomas Road, Thomas Lands or make cash or cheque deposits into its
Republic Bank account number 962356519938. Food and hygiene supplies can be dropped off at the Thomas Lands location daily between 09:00 hours and 15:00hours.

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